Moringa Powder: Benefits, Uses & Ways to Fit it Into Your Diet

Learn about moringa powder and nine research-based health benefits, side effects, and who can safely take moringa powder, along with how to take and certified moringa powder sources.

moringa powder in different presentations
by
Sarah Bullard, MS, RD, LD
— Signos
Dietitian and Nutrition Writer
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Updated by

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Science-based and reviewed

Published:
April 23, 2024
May 21, 2023
— Updated:

Table of Contents

Moringa powder is made from the leaves of the moringa oleifera tree. This tree is native to Asia and Africa, most common in northwestern India.1 It is a fast-growing drought-resistant crop, high in bioactive compounds, vitamins, and minerals.2

The moringa oleifera leaves are the most studied part of the tree. They are beneficial in treating health conditions like heart disease, diabetes and insulin resistance, high blood pressure, cancer, and inflammation. Most research has been done on animals, with some human studies.1 

Moringa leaf powder is expected to double in popularity and demand worldwide from 2018 to 2025.  The United States market demand is expected to grow past six billion dollars by 2025 due to an increased interest in supplements and food applications. Most moringa powder is exported from India.2 

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Learn more: </strong> <a href="/blog/10-best-fruits-metabolic-health">10 of the Best Fruits to Support Metabolic Health, from a Dietitian</a>.</p>

What is a Moringa?

Moringa is known as the “miracle tree” for its agricultural ability and nutritious components. 

The moringa tree grows quickly and easily in poor soil and hot, dry climates. The leaves, fruits, flowers, and immature pods of the tree are edible. This miracle tree also contains many nutrients: protein, carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, and bioactive compounds.2 

There are 13 different species of the moringa plant, ranging from small plants to huge trees. Moringa oleifera is the most widely cultivated species.1,2 Moringa has been used medicinally for thousands of years in many civilizations, including Indian, Greek, and Egyptian populations. Ancient Maurian warriors of India ate leaf extracts to help with the pain and stress of war and provide energy.3 

Today, the leaves are dried and commonly consumed in powder or capsule form, drinks, and teas.2 In 3.5 ounces (or 100g) of dry leaf powder, there is 27 g of protein (amino acids), 2 g of fat, 38 g of carbohydrates, and 19 g of fiber.2 Human studies using 50 g of whole-leaf powder had no adverse effects, and other sources recommend doses of about 40 g per day.4,5 Benefits are seen in consuming as little as 7 g per day.6 

Moringa powder contains bioactive compounds such as carotenoids, polyphenols, phenolic acids, flavonoids, alkaloids, glucosinolates, isothiocyanates, tannins, and saponins.1,2 This article will review nine health benefits supported by scientific research.

9 Health Benefits of Using Moringa Powder

1. Reduces Inflammation

The human body maintains a balance of oxidants and antioxidants. The body increases oxidants due to pollution, environmental factors, poor diet, stress, smoking, and excess sun. Moringa powder is capable of reducing inflammation

A study showed that moringa extract reduced the negative inflammatory response of the body to cigarette smoke.1 

Moringa contains high flavonoids (quercetin), phenols (gallic acid), and antioxidant activity (ascorbic acid), which reduces inflammation and offsets the factors in life that increase oxidation.2 Combining these antioxidants may be more effective than a single antioxidant.1

2. Regulates Blood Sugar

On top of boosting antioxidant capacity in the body, moringa powder was found to significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels in post-menopausal women after taking 7g of moringa powder daily for three months.7 

Isothiocyanates reduce insulin resistance and liver glucose production. Phenols and flavonoids increase insulin sensitivity and slow stomach hormones that digest carbohydrates.1 Moringa powder is a source of all of these components and high in fiber which slows the absorption of carbohydrates.2 

men with a stable and healthy blood sugar level

3. Lowers Cholesterol

Components such as phenolic acids and flavonoids in moringa powder delay cholesterol absorption, forming less blood cholesterol. Saponins prevent the absorption of cholesterol as well.1 

A study on rats fed a high-fat diet and moringa leaf powder for 60 days compared to a control group resulted in lower cholesterol and triglycerides.8

4. Promotes Digestive Health

Moringa powder is high in fiber, containing 7.6 g in the recommended 40 g portion size.2,4,5 Adequate fiber intake promotes good digestive health, slows the absorption of carbohydrates, helps prevent disease, and can aid in weight loss

Adults are recommended to get between 25 and 35 g of fiber daily. This helps to prevent constipation, maintain good gut bacteria, and prevent colon cancer.9

All parts of the moringa plant are used in indigenous medicines to treat diarrhea, heartburn, Crohn’s disease, and ulcers.2 No current research exists on humans regarding these conditions. 

5. May Help Prevent Cancer

Moringa has been studied in cancer cell growth prevention. All studies have been done in vitro (test tube) or on rats. Several types of cancer cells were slowed or stopped, including leukemia, liver, pancreatic, and breast.1  

Moringa’s strong antioxidant power makes it a likely choice for possibly preventing or slowing cancer growth.  

6. Lowers Blood Pressure

Moringa leaves contain a few compounds used to lower blood pressure. These include nitrile and glycosides. The moringa leaf extract decreased rats' blood pressure and reduced blood vessel damage.1 

7. Supports Anti-Aging

Some research on rats is promising in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. 

The moringa plant might improve memory and reduce oxidative stress with Alzheimer’s sisease. With Parkinson’s disease, research on rats found that moringa compounds could prevent the inflammatory cascade and symptoms.1 

8. Helps Prevent Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)

NAFLD is when extra fat builds up in the liver due to genetics, other medical conditions like diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and possibly a diet high in fructose (found in table sugar and some drinks). 

Flavonoids in the moringa oleifera leaves prevent early liver disease in mice and extra fat accumulation in the liver in guinea pigs.1 

9. Packed with Nutrition

In a 40 g dose of moringa oleifera, there is 10.8 g of plant protein, 15 g of carbohydrates, and 7.6 g of fiber. This well-balanced protein (amino acids), carbohydrates, and fiber composition will help keep you full longer.2 

Moringa powder also contains 60 percent of your daily value of calcium and 11mg of iron, which meets the recommended amount for men and non-menstruating women (and 76 percent of the needs for menstruating women). Moringa powder also provides all the niacin, riboflavin, and vitamin E needed daily, over half of the daily requirements for magnesium, and is a good source of potassium and niacin.2

Consuming the 40 g recommended amount daily will boost your nutrients. Even consuming less will help meet a large number of many nutrients. 

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Are There Any Side Effects Related to Moringa Powder?

  • It can cause an upset stomach.
    The high fiber content of moringa powder can cause bloating or diarrhea. Increasing your fiber intake quickly from any food source will cause an upset stomach. Increase your intake gradually and drink adequate water to balance the increased fiber. 
  • It may activate your gag reflex or cause nausea.
    If you do not like the taste of moringa powder, you may develop a strong gag reflex or nausea after eating it. 
    Moringa has a mild earthy flavor. It tastes similar to matcha with a mix of spirulina and algae. Start with smaller amounts or mix into stronger flavors like smoothies if you don’t like the taste. 
  • It may lower blood pressure too much.
    When taken in large amounts, the root bark contains compounds that can lower blood pressure unsafely. The extremely low blood pressure effect was seen in rats.10 
  • May lower blood sugars unsafely
    Since moringa powder is effective at lowering blood sugar levels, those taking medication to manage diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels carefully.1,2 
    Taking both together may lower the blood sugar to hypoglycemic levels. Consult with your doctor before taking moringa powder. 
  • High doses could lead to vitamin and mineral toxicity
    Consuming amounts over the 40 or 50 g recommendation could lead to build-up or toxicity of vitamins and minerals.10 Since moringa powder provides large amounts or all the necessary daily needs of some vitamins and minerals, exceeding the dose could cause adverse side effects.2 Other plant forms (bark, seeds, and flesh) can also lead to toxic amounts.
  • Causes uterine contractions in pregnant women
    The tree’s bark can cause violent uterine contractions that can be fatal or cause a miscarriage.10 
    More issues are found with the bark or roots than the leaves, but all should be avoided. During pregnancy or while breastfeeding, moringa powder is not recommended.  
  • May change blood clotting factors
    Research has shown some changes in clotting factors when taking moringa powder.10 Individuals taking blood-thinning medications should avoid moringa powder or speak with their doctor. 

Who Should Not Take Moringa?

Moringa powder should be avoided in pregnant or breastfeeding women. It can cause uterine contractions and possible miscarriage.10 How much will pass into the breastmilk and then to the child is unknown. 

Some research on boosting breastmilk production with 450 mg of moringa powder has been done with no increased milk production compared to the control group.11 Of note, this dosage is significantly smaller than 7 g (or 7000mg) of moringa powder mentioned earlier as a beneficial low dose. 

Individuals with low blood pressure, diabetes, or on blood thinners should consult with their doctor before taking moringa powder. Parts of the moringa plant (bark, seeds, and flesh) can cause undesirably low blood pressure or blood sugar levels and thin the blood too much while taking medication.10 

Moringa seeds and seed extracts can provide even higher amounts of vitamins and minerals, so caution should be taken to prevent toxic amounts. Leaf extracts or powders have fewer risks associated compared to seeds or bark.12 

7 Tips on How to Use Moringa Powder

Moringa tastes similar to matcha (ground green tea). However, matcha tastes like concentrated green tea. Moringa has also been described as having a mild earthy or green flavor. 

Some people enjoy the taste, while others mix it with stronger flavors to mask the moringa while obtaining health benefits. Moringa powder can be added to many beverages, recipes, and foods.

  • Add to your morning smoothie
  • Sprinkle in hummus
  • Add to guacamole any other dip
  • Mix with your soups and salad dressings
  • Stir into a pasta sauce or pesto
  • Bake into cookies or muffins
  • Replace a portion of the flour in biscuits, cakes, or bread recipes
woman drinking moringa tea while at work

How to Choose and Buy Moringa Powder

The most common form of moringa oleifera in the United States is loose powder or moringa powder capsules.  They can be found online or at health food stores. Each package will state the dosage and how to use it. Most are under the 40 g recommended safe dose from research studies. 

If you want to try different forms such as leaves, pods, or flowers, look online or at a store carrying international foods or supplements. 

Selection Tips:

  • Consider organic, 100% moringa leaves or leaf powder
  • Like most supplements, store moringa leaf powder in an airtight container in a cool, dark place like a pantry. 
  • Check the label for use by or expiration date. Certain packaging and cold storage can extend the shelf life to two years, whereas some forms expire within six months. 

Best Moringa Powder Supplements, According to Signos 

Dietary supplements are not regulated like medications in the United States. This means the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety or effectiveness before they can be sold.13 

The NSF was founded in 1944 to help standardize sanitation and food safety in the US. NSF expanded beyond sanitation and is now a global public health and safety organization.14 Dietary supplements can become NSF Certified Supplements. NSF guarantees good manufacturing practices and ensures the product label matches what is in the container. GMP is another organization that does the same thing as NSF.15 

Signos recommends choosing moringa powder supplements that are NSF or GMP certified. 

NSF or GMP Certified Moringa Powder Choices:

  • HealthForce Super Foods Moringa Leaf Powder and Capsules – 100% pure moringa leaf powder, certified organic, vegan, kosher, and gluten-free
  • Organic Veda Moringa Powder – 100% pure moringa leaf powder, certified organic, non-GMO, vegan, gluten-free, and free of many food allergens

Learn More About Healthy Nutrition with Signos’ Expert Advice

Moringa powder can be a healthful addition to your eating. Incorporating new foods and flavors can take planning and help. A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) can help you know how your body responds to different foods and dietary supplements.

Curious to see how Signos works and can help you? A Signos’ CGM can help you improve your health. Take a quick quiz to determine if Signos is a good fit for you. Learn more about nutrition and healthy habits on Signos’ blog.

<p class="pro-tip"><strong>Keep reading: </strong> <a href="/blog/powder-supplements">How to Choose A Powder Supplement (from an MD)</a>.</p>

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References

About the author

Sarah Bullard is a registered dietitian and nutrition writer with a master’s degree in nutrition. She has a background in research and clinical nutrition, personalized nutrition counseling, and nutrition education.

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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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